Life Without The EPA

Get ready America, the Scott Pruitt, Bad Touch Donnie, Snitch McConnell, Lyin’ Ryan and their GOP buddies are taking you back to the good old days …

This is what America looked like before the EPA cleaned it up

It wasn’t pretty …

By Kendra Pierre-Louis February 24, 2017

from Popular Science

In 1970, Republican President Richard Nixon signed an executive order creating the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It was a time when pollution made many of our nation’s rivers and streams unsafe for fishing or swimming. Back then, New York City’s air pollution was so thick that you often couldn’t see the city’s iconic bridges. Forty-seven years later, there is serious talk of dismantling the agency, or at least slashing its size by two-thirds.

But what does America look like without the EPA?

From 1971 to 1977 the nascent agency, in an act of prescience, enlisted the services of freelance photographers to help us remember. These photographers captured images of America’s environmental problems before we’d cleaned them up. In 2011, the US National Archives digitized more than 15,000 pictures from the series “Documerica”. Here are some of the most compelling.

If you like these images, please read our series on the EPA past and present. It begins here.

horse in front of chemical company
Marc St Gil / EPA
The Atlas Chemical Company Belches Smoke across Pasture Land in Foreground. 06/1972

Smog on river
William Strode / EPA
Smog Hangs Over Louisville And Ohio River, September 1972

burning barge
William Strode / EPA
Burning Barge On The Ohio River, May 1972

clear cut trees detroit lake dam
David Falconer / EPA
Detroit Lake the Dam 09/1973

smoking steamboat on ohio river
Willaim Strode / EPA
Paddlewheel Steamboats Seen From Banks Of Ohio River, May 1972

Smog over Louisville
William Strode /EPA
Smog Lingers Over Louisville Skyline, September 1972

Coke can in ohio river
William Strode / EPA
Litter Left In The Ohio River, June 1972

no deposit broken bottle
David Falconer / EPA
Broken Glass From “No-Deposit, Non-Returnable” Bottles Along the Washington Shore of the Columbia River in a Public Picnic Area. Such Bottles Are Illegal Across the River in the State of Oregon 04/1973

filtering trash out of the river
John Neubauer / EPA
The Job Of Clearing Drift From The Potomac And Anacostia Rivers Is Done By The Army Corps Of Engineers, April 1973

beach pollution sign
Arthur Tress / EPA
Warning of Polluted Water at Staten Island Beach Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in Background 06/1973

abandoned car in bay
Arthur Tress / EPA
Abandoned Car in Jamaica Bay 06/1973

sand covered car
Arthur Tress / EPA
Sand Covers Abandoned Car on Beach at Breezy Point South of Jamaica Bay 05/1973

filtering trash out of the river Enlarge

John Neubauer / EPA

The Job Of Clearing Drift From The Potomac And Anacostia Rivers Is Done By The Army Corps Of Engineers, April 1973

pipe Enlarge

Charles Steinhacker / EPA

Outflow Pipe 6 of the Oxford Paper Company Will at Rumford on the Androscoggin River 06/1973

woman holding jar of tainted water Enlarge

Erik Calonius / EPA

Mary Workman Holds A Jar of Undrinkable Water That Comes from Her Well, and Has Filed A Damage Suit Against the Hanna Coal Company … 10/1973

smoke billows from paper mill Enlarge

Charles Steinhacker / EPA

International Paper Company Mill at Jay on the Androscoggin River 06/1973

close up of smoke billowing Enlarge

Charles Steinhacker / EPA

Mills of the Brown Paper Company in Berlin, on the Androscoggin River 06/1973

Oxford paper company aerial view Enlarge

Charles Steinhacker / EPA

Oxford Paper Company 06/1973

smog views of George Washington Bridge Enlarge

Chester Higgins / EPA

The George Washington Bridge in Heavy Smog. View toward the New Jersey Side of the Hudson River1973

power plant billowing smoke Enlarge

Dick Swanson / EPA

The Pepco (Potomac Electric Power Company) Power Plant At The Anacostia River, April 1973

empty sign on gas tank Enlarge

David Falconer / EPA

Gas Shortage 06/1973.jpg

out of gas sign Enlarge

David Falconer / EPA

“Out of Gas” Signs Have Cropped Up All over the Portland Area Since the Start of the Fuel Shortage 06/1973

Less Highway Lights Enlarge

David Falconer / EPA

Posted Highway Sign Along Interstate #5 Explains Lack of Highway Lighting Is Due to Energy Conservation 11/1973

Restaurant closed energy crisis Enlarge

David Falconer / EPA

Sign Posted in a Doorway Entrance to a Restaurant Explaining Shorter Hours Due to the Fall of 1973 Energy Crisis in Oregon. The Business Was Located Along Interstate #5 10/1973

billboard Enlarge

David Falconer / EPA

Billboard Advising Passing Motorists of the Seriousness of the Energy Shortage in Oregon During the Fall of 1973. Taken on Interstate #5 09/1973

Emission Testing Sign Enlarge

Lyntha Scott Eiler / EPA

Closeup of a Sign at One of Several Service Stations That Advertise Tuneups to Pass Emission and Safety Tests…08/1975

I'm Clean Sticker Enlarge

Lyntha Scott Eller / EPA

Happy Young Woman with a Bumper Sticker Which Reports She Had Successfully Passed Testing at an Auto Emission Inspection Station in Downtown Cincinnati, Ohio…09/1975

Cleaning up Road Side Enlarge

Ernst Halberstadt / EPA

Cleaning Up the Roadside in Onset 05/1973

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